The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today that cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel (AFI Class of 1969) will receive the 2015 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal. This honor recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of an AFI Conservatory alum who embodies the qualities of filmmaker Franklin Schaffner: talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality filmmaking. Celebrating the ongoing career of the iconic cinematographer behind THE BLACK STALLION (1979), THE RIGHT STUFF (1983), THE NATURAL (1984), THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004) and much more, the presentation of the Schaffner Medal will take place as part of the AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Steve Martin in Hollywood on June 4, 2015.

From among an elite community of 4,716 alumni, Deschanel joins an esteemed group of past recipients that includes Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN), Patty Jenkins (MONSTER), Janusz Kamiński (SCHINDLER’S LIST), David Lynch (BLUE VELVET) and Wally Pfister (THE DARK KNIGHT). The recipients of the Schaffner Medal serve as representatives to an impressive community of working AFI Conservatory alumni. In the Conservatory's Cinematography discipline alone, AFI alumni have been nominated 17 times across the past 12 years — winning five times. Within that same timeframe overall, 25 alumni have been nominated for 38 Academy Awards®.

Deschanel has been nominated five times for Best Cinematography for THE RIGHT STUFF, THE NATURAL, FLY AWAY HOME (1996), THE PATRIOT (2000) and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. One of Deschanel's first feature films, THE BLACK STALLION, earned a British Academy Film Awards nomination for Best Cinematography, and won multiple film critics awards. He won the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award for THE PATRIOT and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the ASC in 2010. His directing credits include feature films THE ESCAPE ARTIST (1982) and CRUSOE (1989), as well as television programs such as BONES, CONVICTION, LAW & ORDER: TRIAL BY JURY and TWIN PEAKS. Remaining at the top of his field, Deschanel's recent work includes MY SISTER'S KEEPER (2009), JACK REACHER (2012) and WINTER'S TALE (2014). In 2008, he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from AFI.

A native of Philadelphia, PA, while earning his BA at Johns Hopkins University, he studied art and photography. At the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, he pursued a degree in film studies and began shooting student films. In 1969, he joined the first class of the AFI Conservatory, along with other would–be luminaries and future Schaffner recipients David Lynch and Terrence Malick.

About Franklin J. Schaffner and the Schaffner Alumni Medal
Over the course of a remarkable 40–year career, Franklin J. Schaffner earned a total of 28 Academy Award® nominations and the Best Directing Oscar® for PATTON in 1970. Schaffner's association with AFI began in 1975, with his election to the AFI Board of Trustees, and lasted until his death in 1989.

The Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of a graduate of the AFI Conservatory or of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women who symbolizes the legacy of Franklin Schaffner. The distinguished recipients of the Schaffner Alumni Medal are: David Lynch (1991), Edward Zwick (1992), Randa Haines (1993), Martin Brest (1994), Jon Avnet (1995), Carl Franklin (1996), John McTiernan (1997), Amy Heckerling (1998), Mimi Leder (1999), Terrence Malick (2000), Darren Aronofsky (2001), Todd Field (2002), John Dahl (2003), Patty Jenkins (2004), Paul Schrader (2005), Marshall Herskovitz (2006), Gary Winick (2007), Mark Waters (2008), Steve Golin (2009), Janusz Kamiński (2010), Steven Rosenblum (2011), Wally Pfister (2012), Stuart Cornfeld (2013) and Anne Garefino (2014).

About the AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. AFI Conservatory's alumni have been consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards — Academy Awards®, Emmy Awards®, guild awards — as well as the Tony Awards®. Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks serves as Artistic Director of the AFI Conservatory where he provides creative leadership for the elite film program. Proud supporters of the AFI Conservatory are Sony and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America's promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit